Collaboration over competition! People always say, it gets lonely at the top, but I believe if you help others along the way, the top won’t feel so lonely. Collaborating has brought me more connections and opportunities than trying to go at it alone. Competition makes us faster, but collaboration makes us better. Two minds are always better than one! Use your unique skills and audience to help propel others in the right direction and watch the universe reward you for it.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tatum Skipper.
Tatum is a travel blogger turned Fearless Travel Coach who helps people push past their limiting beliefs, step out of their comfort zones and stand up in the face of fear. She is also the Host of the 20 Till Takeoff Podcast where she interviews people from all over the world on how they have been able to use travel to overcome their fears. With 8+ years, 26 countries and 35 states under her belt, she’s pioneering the way for travel to become more attainable and relatable to the average person.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in a very small town right outside of Wilmington, NC where street lights were few and far between. Growing up in such a rural area, it’s hard to stand out and make your way within the world. I had a set plan of going to college, becoming a plastic surgeon, and living a life of happiness…or so I thought. Once I entered college, my entire world changed. I started thinking, how will I ever know my place in the world if I don’t get out there and explore? To my parent’s dismay, I dropped out of college after 3 years (and straight A’s) to pursue a life I had always dreamed of. I used travel to figure out who I was, where I fit in, and how to have the courage to start my entrepreneurial journey.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my absolute favorite quotes that have stuck with me over the years is, “On the other side of fear lies freedom”. Fear comes into our lives for two reasons; to keep up safe when we’re in danger, and to dismantle our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Fear has no boundaries! It doesn’t matter your age, race, gender, income level, or social status, everyone experiences fear, especially in today’s society. Nine times out of ten the scary thing we’re wanting to do will not boast the stark repercussions that we play out in our minds. Once you can accept fear with open arms, reroute your mind, and limiting beliefs, freedom will appear in its purest form.
My take on freedom is true happiness, and to get that, you must challenge yourself every day. You must go out and do things that scare you, that push your boundaries, and catapult you out of your comfort zone. Once you’re able to stand up to fear, look it in its eyes and walk past it, you’re well on your way to freedom.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The book “Fear Is My Homeboy” by Judi Holler has completely shifted the way I view fear in my life and my business. Judi gives actionable steps and advice to not only help you conquer your fears but embrace them with an open mind. As I’ve transitioned into a Fearless Travel Coach, this book has taught me the fundamentals of why we have fear, how to overcome those fears, and how to teach others to do the same. I’ve learned how to choose things that fulfill my passions rather than drain my energy. I’ve learned how to let go of people and things that no longer serve a purpose in my life. I’ve learned how to stand up in the face of fear and use my courage and findings as fuel to chase my dreams.
I remember sitting in my home office, going back and forth on whether I should start my podcast or just leave it to the “professionals”. Countless hours of self-doubt and “what-ifs” clouded my mind. Then I remembered a section in her book where I wrote out a “Dear Fear” letter. I quickly went back over my writing and at that moment, I dared to say screw fear and self-doubt! I was worthy and more than capable of figuring out the podcasting world, all while becoming successful in it. 8 days later I published my first episode and have stayed consistent in the face of fear.
Judi states, “When you make fear your homeboy, you become a warrior, not a worrier,” and I’ve lived that motto every day since.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I have been an entrepreneur for over 6+ years. Pre-pandemic, my business was all over the place. I was dabbling in so many different areas of travel and even though I was consistently working, I had no real direction. Did I want to continue being a travel blogger? Will my plan of being a travel influencer play out? Was I destined for something more? The answer was, I didn’t know! The only thing I did know was that travel would always be at the forefront of my career.
I was planning trip itineraries for clients, sharing destination ideas on my Bonvoyage Babes travel blog, and had invested almost 12,000 dollars in business mentors and rebranding. I started transitioning into the online coaching world right as the pandemic hit.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
My initial reaction was pure fear. Considering travel came to a screeching halt, I wasn’t sure how my entrepreneurial journey would play out. Travel was my entire life and my entire business and then, the whole world was being banned from it. I had to cancel my sponsored trips, my online sales plummeted and doubt started to sink in. Those dreaded questions started to fill my head. How would I pay my bills? Would my business survive?
As you can tell from my favorite quote and book, fear is something I’ve been studying and learning more about, and as I transitioned into becoming a Fearless Travel Coach, I knew I had to jump at this opportunity. The pandemic was projected to last a few weeks, but sadly, I had to conform to my new reality.
After about a month of brainstorming new ideas and ways to pivot, I decided to start my podcasting journey. I interviewed people all around the world on how they have been able to use travel as a tool to overcome their fears. This helped me stay connected while travel was on the backburner, and understand their stories on a deeper level. I swiftly realized that I needed my coaching idea to work in tandem with my travels and if I couldn’t physically travel, I needed to bring everything online.
Fast forward to May of 2020, I launched my podcast called 20 Till Takeoff, and got to work on new ideas for my travel coaching business. I ended up meeting a girl online who was working on her coaching journey as well. Our visions, values, and ideas intertwined seamlessly, and then boom, we generated an entire fear course + experience for female entrepreneurs.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
My “aha moment” came to me at the perfect time. It dawned on me that everyone has fear, and instead of waiting for a Monday, or “the new year” or for the right time to start something, I realized the right time was NOW! I know that it’s comfortable to fall into the thought of, “oh, I’ll just wait, now isn’t the right time”. The problem with that is there will always be problems and invisible fears that hold us back from moving forward. Once I learned that there would never be a “perfect” time to start, I decided to just go for it!
How are things going with this new initiative?
The new fear course + mini-retreat just launched and we are stoked about it! Being able to not only inspire other women to break down their barriers but watch them grow, learn, and prosper is why we started this new project. Being fearless is like a skill, it takes time and practice and I just know these early stages are foreshadowing what’s to come for the future! You have to take your own advice right?
My business partner and I decided that to teach about fear, we have to live our words. We dismantled any limiting beliefs, got out of our comfort zones, and finally felt aligned with our new venture! This is only the beginning!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
First off, I’m grateful for every single person that I’ve come in contact with over the years, from podcast guests to business mentors and just friends in the industry, but one person brought light to a seemingly dark time. I was on a conference call with women in the travel industry when I met a girl named Sierra Duke.
We spoke back and forth in the group chat box, set up a discovery call, and ended up talking about our lives, our hopes, and dreams for over 4 hours. We quickly realized that our businesses were very similar, but in their own unique ways. We joined forces to bring our vision of helping other women who were experiencing fear to life. She’s taught me so much in just a few months we’ve known each other, and I will be forever grateful for our friendship and partnership. What was once just an online relationship turned into a beautiful business idea and has been blossoming ever since.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I wouldn’t say this is the most interesting story, but definitely, an interesting outlook that I’ve found. A lot of us view travel as flying to exotic locations in various destinations and hitting the cities hottest tourist attractions. We aren’t taught the fundamentals of how and why travel is so important. The pandemic has mirrored that of a bossy adult — when we can’t do something, we want to do it more right?
I’ve found that travel is not only a vague term, but it can be ANYTHING that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Traveling to the next city over or even exploring your own country can bring such new perspectives on life. You don’t have to travel overseas to enjoy those experiences. This new revelation, if you will, was one I will cherish forever. To be grateful for the places that surround you and never take for granted an opportunity to travel, learn, and grow.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Collaboration over competition!
People always say, it gets lonely at the top, but I believe if you help others along the way, the top won’t feel so lonely. Collaborating has brought me more connections and opportunities than trying to go at it alone. Competition makes us faster, but collaboration makes us better. Two minds are always better than one! Use your unique skills and audience to help propel others in the right direction and watch the universe reward you for it.
2. Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
Being an entrepreneur is an emotional rollercoaster with twists, turns and loops. No one ever said it would be easy, but it will be worth it if you’re willing to consistently try. Become friends with rejection and opposition but never let it deter you from the big picture. Remember, you’re never failing, just failing forward!
3. Invest in a mentor that native to your niche!
This was probably my biggest mistake when starting my business. I thought I could do everything alone. I was an independent woman, I didn’t need any help…or so I thought. What I quickly realized is that it’s okay to ask for help! It’s okay to need guidance and support. Don’t wait to invest in some form of education or coach/mentor because they have already made the mistakes and done the dirty work for you. Don’t just hire any mentor that feeds you a great sales script. Talk with them, research them and ask questions. If they are directly in your niche, you never know what opportunities they might present to you!
4. Celebrate your wins.
We tend to get caught up in the next idea or venture, but taking time to celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small, will help you gain momentum to finish off strong.
5. Have a gratitude attitude.
Be thankful for rejection, for partnerships, for open and shut doors. If you aren’t grateful for the things you have in this very moment, why would you be grateful for the things to come?
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
One thing I’ve learned during this stressful time is to put my needs, wants, and desires first. It’s hard giving from a half-empty cup. I started to take my health more seriously, say no to things that were no longer serving me, and carve out more time for fun hobbies that don’t make money. I think as a society we get caught up in finding a million different ways to form a side hustle and forget about those seemingly minute activities that just bring us joy. It’s important to do things that move the needle within your business, but it’s equally as important to do things that you love without any stipulations behind it.
Another major one was turning off the news for good. There is tons of media manipulation going on and for my mental health, I wanted to focus on the things that I could control (my thoughts, beliefs, and actions) instead of what I couldn’t control (the outside world).
Lastly, even though travel was at a standstill, I continued to get out in nature, even if it was just in my backyard. Fresh air (while safely social distancing) can do wonders for your mental health. Nature is its own educator and can help you realize things about yourself you never knew.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I could sit here and name a few, but I would love nothing more than for everyone to live fearlessly without judgment. Our world is littered with hate, judgemental tendencies and always acting like a nosey neighbor. I believe that if people could stand up in the face of fear, without judgment or shame for what they believe in, who they love, or what their dreams are, the world would morph into an incredible place.
Why do we feel shame and guilt for putting ourselves first? Why do other people care about how others live their lives? If we could adopt a more unified understanding that everyone is different and that’s a beautiful thing, the inhabitants of this earth would be able to coexist in their unique ways.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Ahh, the one and only Angie Lee has inspired me to be my true, authentic self. Her story comes up in my work time and time again. From building an organic audience from scratch to running a multi-million dollar business, her stories triggered something in me to keep pushing, even when things looked less than promising. She’s stated many times, “everyone has a day one”, and it lingers with my thoughts but pushes me to take action. We all start somewhere — even the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation. So Angie if you’re reading this, I would LOVE to meet you, talk with you and become baby grandma friends forever!
How can our readers follow you online?
You can connect with me on Instagram @bonvoyage_babes or my podcast Instagram @20tilltakeoff. I am always looking for new guests to have on my show so please reach out to me if you’re interested! You can also follow my blog for all of your travel needs! https://bonvoyage-babes.com/
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!